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Joan II of Navarre (1309–1349)

Joan II of Navarre (1309–1349)

Queen of Navarre. Name variations: Jeanne of France, Jeanne of Navarre; Juana II. Born in 1309 in France (some sources cite 1312); died in 1349 in Navarre; daughter of Louis X (1289–1316), king of France (r. 1314–1316), and Margaret of Burgundy (c. 1290–1315); married Philip III (Philip d'Evreux), king of Navarre, in 1317; children: Carlos II also known as Charles II the Bad (1332–1387), king of Navarre;Blanche of Navarre (1331–1398); Joanna, Agnes, Marie.

Joan II of Navarre was born in 1309 in France, the daughter of Louis X, king of France, and his queen-consort, Margaret of Burgundy . When Joan was an infant, her mother was accused of adultery and imprisoned, which put Joan's legitimacy in question and worked against her when her father died without surviving sons. The barons of France did not want to be ruled by a little girl with a suspicious claim to the throne and preferred her uncle Philip as their king. They justified their choice, and her uncle's subsequent succession as Philip V, with the argument that the traditional law of the Franks, called the Salic law, prohibited women from inheriting land, and thus, they argued, by implication from inheriting kingdoms as well. Therefore, Philip displaced his niece. He also usurped her personal inheritance of the county of Champagne.

About 1317, Joan married Philip d'Evreux (Philip III). In 1328, Philip and Joan succeeded to the throne of Navarre, and at age 26, Joan finally wore a crown. Theirs was a double succession, for, as the true heir of the French king, Navarre was Joan's birthright, and her husband was a close relative of the dead French king Philip V. The nobles of Navarre chose this couple to be their rulers while rejecting the new French king, Philip VI. Joan and Philip were competent and well-liked by their new subjects. The queen gave birth to eight children, including Charles II the Bad, future king of Navarre. The born-and-bred French monarchs did not stay in Navarre for many years, however; instead, they left its rule to able governors and returned to their estates in Evreux. Joan was only about 40 when she died.


Echols, Anne, and Marty Williams. An Annotated Index of Medieval Women. NY: Markus Wiener, 1992.

Opfell, Olga. Queens, Empresses, Grand Duchesses, and Regents. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1989.

Laura York , Riverside, California

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